Road Trips

I remember road trips.

The kids were babies or boys and it was a big deal to get back to Iowa, out to California, or down to Texas to see family.

Before the boys, it was Bonnie & I in our Sentra. No AC.
Then came kid #1 and our Civic with AC and cloth seats. Oooh!
Then #2 and a station wagon. Then #3 and a mini van.

We’d take everything — luggage, pillows, blankets, book bags, snacks, toys, other bribes, more snacks. Sometimes we took a dog.

We’d say a prayer in the drive way and be on our way.

There’s nothing like hitting the freeway at the start of a road trip. Hit the gas and get into cruise control. Put a movie on for the kids, give ‘em a snack, spike their sippy-cups with Benadryl, and we’re off.

The boys and I loved to get gas at truck stops in Nebraska and linger in truck stop stores. Those places were like a Radio Shack within a gas station that sold snacks. Awesome.

(Bonnie hated them because herding us back into the mini van was such a chore. But when you’re the mom of four boys, you corral your husband kids back into the car. It’s what you do.)

I loved night driving, all set with cruise control, an audio book, and a travel mug of hot coffee.

As the boys got bigger, our mini van got awesomer.
One year, we removed a captain’s chair, hook-ed up an Xbox console, and played video games all the way to Minnesota, with Bonnie pleading, “Look at that lake! Look at that river! Look at that moose!”

There were frustrations. Bathroom stops 10 minutes after the last bathroom stop, for example.
Also sick kids, bratty kids, flat tires, bad weather, and running out of snacks.

But it was a good season, one that’s behind us now. The boys come and go on their own now. I have zero complaints. But I must admit: I didn’t see this coming.

Life is like a road trip.

There’s a time for loading the car and a time for unloading;
A time to hit the gas and a time to hit the breaks;
A time to get out of the van and a time to get back in;
A time to quarrel and a time to get along.
A time to see new places and a time to return to familiar places;
A time for taking-off and at time for heading home.

Will you be traveling anywhere this summer?
If you’re a parent, my heart goes out to you. So many joys, so many worries, so much to do.

But do try to savor it. From the drive way on.

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